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Labor history for the week of July 14
On July 7, 1877, The Great Uprising nationwide railway strike begins in Martinsburg, W.Va. after railroad workers are hit with their second pay cut in a year. In the following days, strike riots spread through 17 states. The next week, federal troops were called out to force an end to the strike
On July 14, 1912, Woody Guthrie, writer of "This Land is Your Land" and "Union Maid," born in Okemah, Okla.
On July 14, 1921, Italian immigrants and anarchists Nicola Sacco and Bartolomeo Vanzetti are convicted in Massachusetts of murder and payroll robbery – unfairly, most historians agree – after a two-month trial, and are eventually executed. Fifty years after their deaths the state's governor issued a proclamation saying they had been treated unfairly and that "any disgrace should be forever removed from their names."
On July 15, 1917, 50,000 lumberjacks strike for the eight-hour day
On July 15, 1931, Robert Gray, an African-American sharecropper and leader of the Share Croppers Union, is murdered in Cap Hill, Alabama
On July 15, 1959, a half-million steelworkers begin what is to become a 116-day strike that shutters nearly every steel mill in the country. Management wanted to dump contract language limiting its ability to change the number of workers assigned to a task or to introduce new work rules or machinery that would result in reduced hours or fewer employees
On July 16, 1919, Ten thousand workers strike Chicago's International Harvester operations
On July 16, 1920, Martial law declared in strike by longshoremen in Galveston, Texas
On July 16, 1934, San Francisco Longshoreman's strike spreads, becomes four-day general strike
On July 17, 1944, two ammunition ships explode at Port Chicago, Calif., killing 322, including 202 African-Americans assigned by the Navy to handle explosives. It was the worst home-front disaster of World War II. The resulting refusal of 258 African-Americans to return to the dangerous work underpinned the trial and conviction of 50 of the men in what is called the Port Chicago Mutiny
On July 18, 1969, Hospital workers win 113-day union recognition strike in Charleston, South Carolina.
On July 19, 1848, Women's Rights Convention opens in Seneca Falls, New York. Delegates adopt a Declaration of Women's Rights and call for women's suffrage
On July 20, 1899, New York City newsboys, many so poor that they were sleeping in the streets, begin a two-week strike. Several rallies drew more than 5,000 newsboys, complete with charismatic speeches by strike leader Kid Blink, who was blind in one eye. The boys had to pay publishers up front for the newspapers; they were successful in forcing the publishers to buy back unsold papers
On July 20, 1934, Two killed, 67 wounded in Minneapolis truckers' strike—"Bloody Friday"
On July 20, 1971, Postal unions, Postal Service sign first labor contract in the history of the federal government
On July 21, 1926, Radio station WCFL, owned and operated by the Chicago Federation of Labor, takes to the airwaves with two hours of music. The first and only labor-owned radio station in the country, WCFL was sold in 1979
On July 21, 1964, the IWW leads a strike at Hodgeman's Blueberry Farm in Grand Junction, Michigan.
On July 21, 1984, a die-cast operator in Jackson, Mich. is pinned by a hydraulic Unimate robot, dies five days later. Incident is the first documented case in the U.S. of a robot killing a huma